Recruiting agency accused of demanding ransom

Saddif Ovee
Published : 07:30, Sep 11, 2019 | Updated : 07:30, Sep 11, 2019

A Bangladeshi migrant, pending temporary documentation, watches from the port of Kos, Greece, a ferry bound for the port of Piraeus near Athens August 10, 2015.A licensed recruiting agency in Dhaka has been accused of trafficking a man to Libya and then demanding ransom from the victim’s family.
Mehedi Hassan Shumon from Munshiganj decided to send his younger brother Nayon abroad and contacted a local broker.
He said that the broker, Hayat Ullah took them to Roosevelt Trade International at Paltan, owned by one Akbor Hossain on Jun 20.
The organisation is registered as a liscenced recruiting agency at the Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training (BMET).
They signed a contract of sending Nayan to Libya in exchange for Tk 100,000 and he boarded the flight to Librya on Jun 29.
Ten days later after he boarded the flight, he called his family from a Libyan number (+218916897613) and said that Akbor’s men were holding him captive and were torturing him.
A similar incident was reported from Brahmanbaria where a man was was traficked to Libya in the pretext of being sent to Spain. The video showed that he and Nayan were being tortured at the same place.
Mehedi filed a case with Paltan police on Sept 4 under sections 7,8 and 10 of the Prevention and Suppression of Human Trafficking Act.
Amongst the accused are: brokers Hayatullah and Bipu, owners of Rosevelt Trade International Akbor Hossain and his brother Akhter Hossain, Akbor’s wife Gulshan Ara Begum and manager Syed Mia.
“When I informed Hyat Ullah he told be that he’ll fix it,” he said and added that for the next 12 days they didn’t receive any news of Nayan.
He said that his brother called again after that from another number with the same plea for help.
“Pay Akbor and his brother Tk 600,000 otherwise they’ll shoot me,” Mehedi quoted Nayan. A video of him being tortured followed the conversation.
“I gave Akbor’s wife Gulshan Ara begum Tk 300,000 to save my brothers life but instead of releasing him, they demanded another Tk 600,000,” Mehedi told Bangla Tribune.
Saying that Nayan told him about 11 others being held captive at the same place, he added that the voice messages for ransom continued.
“When I went to local broker Hayatullah and Bipu they started threatning me with life,” he said and added that’s when he filed the case.
Investigations found that although licensed under one name, several offices run businesses at Roosevelt as sublets.
Although Sumon said that the offices have been closed since the case was filed, Bangla Tribune found it open on Monday (Sept 9).
Locals said that Akbor is currently at Libya and manager Syed doesn’t regularly come to office and is also unavailable over phone.
“A few offices have rented the place and work with sending people abroad,” Investigating officer, Paltan police Sub Inspector Arshad told Bangla Tribune.
He added that the accused have been in hiding since the case was filed and they were taking the help of information technology to catch them.
BMET Director DM Atikur Rahman told Bangla Tribune that it is a legal issue and the liscence will be revoked if the charges are proven.